Arising from a comment I made yesterday elsewhere and expand-on here. The topic was bums on seats (as the “church attendance debate” might be called). Or “falling church attendance” as the debate always seems to be.
I think for me it is an obvious preference for conditional love that is the difference. Conditional love controls (otherwise it would be unconditional). Unconditional love cannot control (otherwise it would be conditional).
And preaching unconditional love and loving conditionally makes no sense – just as preaching conditional love and loving unconditionally would make no sense either.
It seems to me that religion avoids that (obvious) silliness by focusing on sin. Because sin makes loving conditionally easy. And sin makes preaching unconditional love easy.
It’s not my fault you see. I am a sinner saved – and because of (original) sin I cannot love unconditionally (but I can preach it).
But what if love was “the juice” rather than sin and sin avoidance … if a second of eternity now was “it” rather than “wait until you’re dead and then you can” … what if we could ever lose the need to control this God we claim to worship and serve … ?
Because that “culture of control” (evidenced by biblical conditional love for others AND scriptural unconditional love for me) seems one that most Christians prefer to maintain as “correct scriptural teaching”. And yet in that same scripture Jesus’ definition of scriptural correctness … being biblically correct … was somewhat different to ours.
Or else why the “You have seen it written, but I say …” Or else why the very experts of correctness – of Jesus’ day – being defeated time and time again when it came to trying to screw-over Jesus biblically.
And just because Jesus didn’t do “rebuttal” with every single (current) hot-button issue doesn’t mean (for me) that those current hot-buttons (of discrimination and exclusion) are biblically OR scripturally correct.
I think the church has a problem. And it is not of the bible. Nor is it of apathy. I think it is of preaching unconditional love whilst loving conditionally.
That is not the Good News I fell in (unconditional) love with.